321-340

321. In the side pouch of his backpack, Levine kept his flask and two cigarettes wrapped in cloth, this a habit he had picked up from his older brother, or rather something he recalled his older brother describing to a friend once, Levine only six years old at the time, listening behind feigned sleep from the top bunk.

322. The cigarette was her Linus blanket, she snuggled to it in the apartment dark, it assuring her only some of the things she hated hated her back.

323. Later chapters of the manual dealt with sleight-of-hand utilizing cigarettes—he naturally wanted to skip ahead to learn these, but most of the instructions were given in a kind of code, referencing techniques by abbreviations, skills acquired in the chapters on cards, coins, and the lot.

324. The scent of whatever homeless had decided to use the vestibule to escape the previous night’s rain malingered, Gordon giving a sneer at the group of tramps trading cigarette bits across the way, outside the pimply delicatessen.

325. I was always gracious enough to hold my cigarette behind my back when anyone passed by, especially if they had children, made sure to smile double wide at anyone who gave me a scowl, keep my eye on them while they had to wait at the crosswalk, linger in the fumes of the city’s middle-day traffic clogs.

326. At least now when he blew his nose it didn’t stir up cicadas of headache, clog his ears for twenty minutes—yes, his nose was almost in working order, but the mucus dripping post-nasal still had a meaty coat on his throat and mouth’s inside, sludge-watering his cigarettes, but in a day or two even that would get back to ship shape, he could weather it.

327. Cigarettes would always be magic to Eileen, she would breathe in from them a lung of her sure-to-be-forthcoming miseries and then would breathe out the color of certain falcon’s breast feathers.

328. Forty glass bottles filled with cigarettes, the bottom bunch having sopped up whatever was left of the soda, the top bunch pristine, didn’t even look stubbed, just that they’d been slipped in still smoking—just one of the breathtaking treasures in the bedroom his former flat mate had decided to vacate with all belongings left behind.

329. Another of Donovan’s city walk superstitions—on Glover Avenue, mostly populated by a scraggly Asian community, he never saw any people of his own race having cigarettes (plenty of people his own race, yes, some even seemed to have employment if not to own little shops) and so he would never light up, not even right on the outskirts, afraid he’d be remembered the next time, a gangrenous posse waiting to disappear him.

330. Brick, his late mother’s dog, would always wake, pace around near the front door, when Curtis smoked a cigarette, would sometimes scratch at the door to the garage, running muzzle snot in overlapping circles near the knob, this leading both to melancholy, bitter-pill memories of mom and also to jeepers creeps he could do well without.

331. ‘Oh cigarette women,’ boistered Greg, ‘there is a special place in the Lord’s house for all of them—any gal who knows there’s nothing sexier than begin good with smelling like a coffee house ashtray, their every bone should be some holy relic, yes please.’

332. Quite charming, with no aid of inebriation, Nicolette danced with the grace of a drunk trying to park straight at a one a.m. gas pump, she’d let the cigarette she was holding fall from her hands some half dozen twirls ago.

333. The reason she could not do without her cigarettes was they made the inside of her head sound the same way reading Anne Michaels, Duras, or the screen treatment for A Bout De Souffle did.

334. His fists were balled, but wimpy lettuces slumped at the end of loose packed cigarette arms, things were darting behind his eyes, thoughts barging to be given physicality, but his throat was too shut to even give voice.

335. Some kind of pie, two slices, rotated behind the plastic windows, he couldn’t even tell if the heat bulbs were on—no, no idea what he’d call it, maybe cigarette-lemon from the color of the insides, crust like a cartoon picture of a moon monster.

336. Leaning back, just pressing on despite the overall mood among the odd bunch gathered, Prescot said, ‘And I’m more impressed by surgeons who had cigarettes while operating—I think that should raise them in our esteem, like how we admire ball players from pre-steroid days—a cigarette dangling over an open necrotic bowel, I mean, that’s working against a handicap.’

337. This whole country, honestly, had the stale, post-corpse demeanor of the old woman always down in the apartment laundry, cigarette permanent over a lower lip that looked it’d been caught in a door.

338. Striking at the cigarette lighter impatiently, every intention to pick up the ringing phone once he got one lit, he felt perspiration at his convalescing brow, glorious ‘Mother fuck God!’ unleashed, lighter flung to tiled kitchen floor, breathing gooey wheezes as he took the receiver up, said ‘Hello?’

339. Best part of the documentary: Colleen smoked the same cigarette brand these civilizationless tribe people were hooked on now, the only thing they traded for from outside their boarders.

340. Pigeons pecked around in the meek light of what passed for dawn, wing flaps and threatening coos over cigarette butts, Styrofoam covered nibbles, Tracey with pulsing bourbon nose and head cold building to crescendo, five miles walk still to her friend Oliver’s place.

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